Category Archives: Field reports

A silent killer

 

Sunshine highlighting a grass tree

Grass trees are one of the most recognised victims of the silent killer Phytophthora cinnamomi, but other plants are also impacted. A recent talk highlighted the problem of how to prevent the spread to other areas of bushland.

Here are some brief notes about Phytophthora cinnamomi (P c.) from a presentation by David Smith, from the Dept. of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources to the Friends of Canadian Corridor at the Earth Ed Centre, Mt Helen.

Often referred as being a fungus it is now classified in the Order Oomycota and therefore closely related to slime moulds. There are currently at least 124 species of Phytophthora in the world, with the number rising each year. Some species only occur on the foliage of plants while others such as P c. only occur in the soil. Continue reading

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Marine excursion plans for March

Get out your reference books and beach gear, we are going to the beach. On Saturday 24 March, Ballarat Field Naturalists are going to near Torquay, to meet up with the marine research group of the Victorian Field Naturalists” Club, to look at what lives in and on rock platforms. It will be an early start as we are leaving from our usual rendezvous point at 7:15am.

a selection of useful marine reference books

Members  interested in participating should contact Andy so that he knows who is coming and to let you know if the plan changes. You will need to have good footwear like gym boots or canvas shoes so that you can walk on the slippery surface, taking a camera and a notebook is also a good idea plus a plastic container to carry finds to the experts for identification..

Each year we usually try to have an excursion down to the coast and this is one of the many different activities that we undertake as a club. If you were thinking about joining our group this would be an ideal time to do it, as it is the beginning of the financial year. Membership includes insurance for club activities meetings, excursions and a newsletter. We publish a list of our activities for the coming year on our website and it will be updated soon. For further info about membership or the excursion, email our secretary Emily at ballaratfnc@gmail.com

 

Field Reports

At each club meeting, members give reports of interesting sightings that they’ve had over the previous month. At our recent meeting, Carol spoke about the sighting for the magpie geese at Lake Wendouree. See previous post for a photo.

Apparently this is the first sighting since the 1890’s and while reports indicate that there were 12 goslings, the number decreased over subsequent days. There was discussion as to whether this might be due to the rakali (native water rat) having a snack or a swamp harrier.

Another field report of note was the finding of a feathertail glider at Scarsdale by Bill. These tiny animals are the smallest of our possums that glide. While still relatively common they not often seen and this one was dead, so provided an opportunity for detailed examination. They are active at night and eat insects, nectar, honeydew and pollen and rely on tree hollows for nest sites.

Recognising and valuing contributions to our club

At our annual general meeting on Friday night our club president John Gregurke, awarded a life membership to Bill Murphy. The club in its 65th year has only awarded 10 life memberships and the last one was many years ago  to Mary White.

Bill Murphy with his award

Bill has been a member for 50 years and this in itself a marvelous achievement. He and his wife Pat, joined the club not long after attending their first meeting in 1968. They were invited to attend a meeting by Stella Bedggood, who thought they might be interested in coming along to hear the guest speaker, who turned out to be none other than Jim Willis.

From that time on they were hooked and actively participated in many of the club functions including field trips, campouts and working bees. Bill was president of the club in 1972, 73 and 75 and when he retired from work in the late 1980’s he was able to join Pat on many forays into the bush. Continue reading

Magpie Geese at Lake Wendouree

This photo of Magpie Geese with goslings was captured by one of our members, Carol. According to Roger Thomas this sighting is an historic one for the lake

Magpie Geese and young Wendouree-2.jpg

Hyacinth Orchids

There were still a few Hyacinth Orchids out at in the Enfield Forest on Tuesday, but not much else flowering. These orchids are tall up to 90-100cm with numerous pink flowers on a stem and are usually leafless. Dipodium pardalinum, Spotted Hyacinth Orchid, has spots on the sepals and labellum and Dipodium roseum, Rosy Hyacinth Orchid has spots but a striped labellum. Thanks to Emily for the identification tip.

 

Excursion to Chepstowe, Snake Valley and Linton areas.

Excursion to Chepstowe, Snake Valley and Linton areas

Led by John and Elaine Gregurke . 5 November 2017.

By the time we reached Chepstowe the weather was warming and at lunch we sat in calm sunshine at Mag Dam Rec Reserve in Snake Valley. The wildflowers at places visited were magnificent. Our outing ended at the Memorial for the 5 fire fighters tragically killed in the 1998 bushfire near Linton – a very moving visit. Fourteen field naturalists attended the field-trip including Tony from Bendigo club.

Neville Oddie (land owner) chats with club members, with wind farm and turbines behind.

 Mr Neville Oddie (OAM and long time conservationist and Aboriginal rights activist) welcomed us and then us showed just some of the many aspects of the property that reveal his exceptional knowledge and dedication to nature conservation issues. Continue reading

Meandering at Melton Botanic Gardens

The Melton Botanic Gardens have been officially opened since the Ballarat Field Naturalists last visited and another section of path has also been opened to the public. It now possible to do a loop walk across into an area that is yet to be developed. The path goes close to the freeway and is very noisy but gives a different perspective to the gardens.

Lal Lal Reserve

There is still plenty to see at Lal Lal Falls Reserve if you decide you want a walk. There is no water going over the falls but still some in pools in the creek. The kangaroo grass is looking great and gives a light orange tinge. Some patches of native grass have been left un-mown in the public area which I like to see. The Hairy Anchor Plant has already dropped its seed and looks healthy despite its dry position on the bank. The clustered everlastings add a bright colour to the slopes and the scenery is still spectacular.

 

Get out and about

There are so many beautiful places to visit at the moment and we are spoilt for choice. Here are 3 photos from Bill, taken yesterday.

And a few more from his companions.